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国立文楽劇場 National Bunraku Theater

  • Theaters / Show
  • Minami (Shinsaibashi / Nanba) Area
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Minami (Shinsaibashi / Nanba) Area
1-12-10 Nippombashi, Chuo-ku Osaka-shi, Osaka 542-0073, Japan
  • Theaters / Show
Opening Hours
Depending on public performance
Date of post:2015/10/28

Do you feel it is intimidating to come and see Bunraku Theater? If so, you don’t need to be afraid. It is an easy thing to approach!

  • Traditional Entertainment

“Bunraku” is the traditional and classic puppet theater of Japan. The story depicts the everyday life of commoners in the Edo periods or the legendary stories from the old warrior or aristocrat days. The Bunraku Theater, originated here in Osaka, has the history of more than 300 years.

To your surprise, a Bunraku doll is two-third life-sized and manipulated by three puppeteers. The main puppeteer (Omozukai) operates the doll’s head and face by holding a stick with levers in his left hand and also operates the doll’s left hand by his right hand. The second one (Hidarizukai) manipulates the doll’s left hand. The last one (Ashizukai) manipulates the doll’s legs and feet. It is said that you need ten years to be a foot puppeteer and another ten years to be a left hand puppeteer. Their skill is such a magnificent and perfect one that the puppeteers seem to be invisible as the story develops. The dolls look like real actors or actresses.

You will be fascinated not only by the harmony in their movement but the beauty of traditional costumes the dolls wear. Kimono, obi sash, or haori jackets, are carefully chosen to fit into their role from various collection.

The play goes with a traditional narrator called Tayu and shamisen musicians.

Some of them are living national treasures.

The theater building was founded in 1984 as one of Bunraku theaters and now is the headquarters of Bunraku.

It is located at Nipponbashi in the central part of Osaka city.
It is within 10 minutes’ walk from Namba.

The theater has a free exhibition room which gives you an easy explanation and shows you valuable items such as a miniature stage set, puppets, wigs, costumes, props or pictures. In addition, it gives you hands-on experience of manipulating a real Bunraku doll!

  • * The information above is from the date of the review. Please be aware that some of the content may vary from the most recent information.
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